Did you know that playing board games lowers blood pressure, decreases stress, not to mention bringing people closer and strengthening the relationships? That’s why it works perfectly during business’ workshops!
Of course, we could add a whole paragraph about improving your brain activity and enhancing cognitive skills, but there’s no point as the main benefit from playing board games is about: framing engaging conversations thanks to board-focused attention. During ‘serious play’ activities, engagement and happiness is attached to the board game. The Power Point screen is not in the physical center of attention – the board and participants are. even with this move, participants get closer.
First, I was introduced to Biopolis by the trainers from Latin America. They (both facilitators and participants) laugh and smile a lot, and in my perspective, the challenge was to embed a bit of serious business content into the game. In CEE countries, I would say it is another way around: we need to bring more space for happiness, increase permission for organizational slack and playfully expressive forms of talking about business issues.
Biopolis covers well-known mechanisms of board games leaving more space for talking about business situations. Using the avatars (usually Playmobile – yes, as a LEGO fan I was shocked) or wooden figures you jump through the board (look at this big foil board!) and create the next steps though discussions.
The central point can be quite abstract (coaching, leadership, teamwork in general), but talented facilitators can make it more complex and dig to the deeper meanings understood only from inside the organisation. That is why Biopolis is recommended for internal facilitators who know the context of their company and can maneuver easily through data, facts and communicated business priorities. If this is what your business values most, you can adapt Biopolis to your scenarios.
I heard the opinion that gamified training that uses toys it is an infantilization of management. I agree but only to some extent 🙂 It depends on the focus of the facilitator. In the original formula, it is not about playing with the bricks or toy figures, but about creating a focal point of conversations using metaphors and artifacts. Kids play is spontaneous, serious play is designed for business expectations.
It is just a game :) You can adapt it to your needs. Let your serious business discussions be well-played.